Myth: All cholesterol is bad
The truth: “Cholesterol is an essential component of cell membranes” that has been around for at least 500 million years, says Jacques Genest, MD, a researcher in cardiovascular diseases at the Research Institute of the McGill University Health Center in Montreal. In other words, human life couldn’t exist without it. That said, Dr. Genest adds, every cell in our body is also capable of making enough cholesterol for its needs: There’s no evidence we need cholesterol in our food. And as human diets have changed in the past few thousand years to include much more cholesterol than historically, we haven’t adapted to the shift. This increase in dietary cholesterol, which our bodies weren’t designed to process, is what’s contributing to high levels of heart disease.